‘It still feels like a dream that I am alive’
“I still cannot believe that I am alive.”
These are the words of William Mokoena who was attacked by a female tiger that has been on the loose since Friday.
Speaking to Sowetan from his bed at Kopanong Hospital, Mokoena said he was on his way home in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, on Saturday night when he was attacked by the tigress known as Sheba.
This was a few minutes after he had left his cousin’s place.
Mokoena was using a route that is normally used by pedestrians and cyclists, which cuts through a veld.
He recalled how he had been tying his shoes when the animal, which escaped from one of the plots in the area, attacked him.
“It still feels like a dream that I am alive. I feel numb. I have not had time to digest the incident, but I thank God. What I want is for the animal to be captured because my cousin has young kids and that route is used by children who go to a school nearby.”
As he relates his story, Mokoena said he was just walking, carrying his portable bluetooth speaker and a phone on the other hand.
“I was bending over when something heavy pushed me to the ground. I fell and lay on my back. When I looked up, a giant animal with its mouth open wanted to reach for my face. I was screaming for help.
“I was also using my hands so that it does not reach my face. It then jumped for my legs, grabbing the flesh with its jaws.
“However, I don’t know where I got the strength to be calm in the midst of the whole thing. I kept focusing on its face and following the movement of its body. My cousin eventually came to my rescue and it ran away. After the attack they took me to his house, we could hear that the tiger is outside. It ate a dog. My cousin opened the window but could not see it. I was in pain.”
After the attack, Mokoena had to wait for 12 hours before an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.
Mokoena’s cousin, Andries Mokoena, said: “When I heard people in the area talking about a tiger that attacked someone I was not aware that it was my cousin. I am glad he is alive. But since the incident happenned people are living in fear and we all hope to see the tiger being captured. You are afraid to go outside the house at night.” – Sowetan